Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Combo Post: Beef, Polls, Economy, ECFA

The stock market is still in shock that stock transaction tax and capital gains taxes are being contemplated by the Ma Administration. These are good moves, like raising prices for gasoline and electricity -- though if the taxes fail to go through, it will leave the impression that, once again, regressive policies fall on the poor and middle class while the monied classes get off with low to no taxes. In any case, kudos to the Ma Administration for at least contemplating these eminently sensible and long recommended moves.

Meanwhile the cutting of growth predictions continues apace as TIER released its latest prediction, dropping 2012 growth from 3.96% to 3.48%. Note that this is .48%, not .50%. Actually, research shows that 61.57% of all statistical claims are simply made up on the spot....

ADDED: The Taipei Times observed a couple of weeks ago:
Last week, the Asian Development Bank predicted GDP growth of 3.4 percent for Taiwan this year, which was lower than the 3.85 percent projected by the government in February. Some foreign banks have recently adjusted their GDP growth forecasts for Taiwan in response to the new risk factors, with UBS saying the economy would grow by just 1.5 percent this year, compared with Barclays’ 3 percent, DBS’ 2.9 percent, ANZ’s 3.56 percent and Citigroup’s 3.7 percent.
Apparently outsiders are far more pessimistic than the locals about the state of the economy.

The Ma Administration took another hit on the heels of the price increases for gas and electricity. US Beef imports? Hahaha. Another case of mad cow found in the US. This will only increase the dread factor and probably stop the Ma Administration's drive to resolve the beef mess with the US dead in the water.

I was suspicious of the pro-Green Taiwan Thinktank poll that showed Ma's popularity at post-Morakot levels but the rabidly pro-KMT TVBS backs them up. Their latest poll has Ma's approval rate at just 22% with 61% disapproving. It's just temporary; he'll return to the basic 30% approval level sooner or later.

Finally, a friend reminds me that the trade figures for March are out. He points out that March trade statistics showed that while overall exports declined by a y-o-y 3.2%, exports to China were down 7%, on par with the decline of exports to the US, but worse than the fall off in exports to Japan. Further, the only export growth was to the ASEAN-6, a large 11% increase. For the whole first quarter, the decline in exports to China (-9.7%) is greater than the decline in exports to the US (-7%), Japan (-6.8%), and Europe (-6.8%). Once again the only bright spot is the ASEAN-6 with a 7.7% growth in export to the region. (Total exports for QI are down 4.0%).

Remember when ECFA was going to save the economy by boosting exports to China AND give us FTAs with many other nations? Exports to China are not exactly exploding, while the growth is in the region where we don't have the FTAs we were promised. In fact, we have no FTAs at all. As my friend pointed out, the economy under the Ma Administration is actually vindicating the Lee Teng-hui/DPP "go south"/diversification policies.....
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M said...

Michael- do you ever watch the TVBS talk shows? I would hardly say they are "rapidly pro-KMT". In recent weeks they have been full of Ma-bashing on everything from urban renewal to electricity prices ...

Michael Turton said...

Of course, I watch TVBS quite often in restaurants etc.

In the US a major network hosts Rachel Maddow, but it is still a center-right establishment organization. A few opinions doth not a political stance make.

M said...

I've been watching the talkshows over the last few weeks, and they have been very critical of Ma's performance..although mostly from critics in the blue camp like Luo Shu-lei...

The thing is Ma is getting stick for long overdue reforms such as increasing energy prices. Quite disappointed with the DPP position on this issue - although it is understandable in purely political terms.

Michael Turton said...

The Blues are probably nervous about how they are going to do in the next round of local elections after these increases.

The Chen Administration actually held onto the floating price mechanism until Aug of 2007, when it suspended that with the elections in mind. The Ma administration inherited that policy. I think they are making the right move, but they waited far too long. Should have restored the floating price mechnaism when they had 10% growth that one year. Or phased in the increases over 3 months. Etc.

I don't like the DPP stance either, but you can hardly blame them.

B.Y. said...

Whether TVBS is rapidly-pro KMT doesn't matter that much. The important thing about a talk show should be whether and how its host makes an effort to allow different viewpoints to be expressed by panelists (having the relevant expertise) and induce a rational dialogue. In my opinion, TVBS does not make the cut but Sanli TV is even worse.